An eclectic education

I believe strongly in education of all different types. I believe in school and university, they can form the basis of our ability to reason and evaluate, although that isn’t always a good thing. I also believe in self-education. I believe that people who don’t read after school, unless they’re completely unable to read, are probably the scariest people in the world. I believe that everyone should continue learning, throughout their lives, in the way that is the most natural to them and their life circumstances.

Another disclaimer here, I’m talking mostly about the western world of course, where people have access to the internet and to libraries and to endless supplies of knowledge. So often, when I write a piece like this, I forget just how privileged I am compared to most of the world. I really don’t want to do that, and I also don’t want to minimise the benefits that the luck of my birth gave me and continue to give me.

So, following through with my own values and beliefs, I’m going to learn something new. Ten new things actually, over the next couple of weeks. I’m not going to go deeply into each new subject, mostly because I’m a skim the surface kind of person, but also because my time is as limited as everyone else’s seems to be. There are also going to be several rules in place for this endeavour.

  1. I’m not allowed to choose a subject that I already know a fair bit about. So no ancient history, philosophy, prose literature, nursing, teaching, yoga, swimming or religious studies. Been there done that and I don’t want to cheat and find a way around my stated aim to learn new things through this project.
  2. The point is not just to read, it’s about connecting the new ideas with my life. I was watching MasterChef Australia tonight (love that show) and one of the contestants was talking about the connection between food and the theatre. I don’t see it, but the idea of marrying disparate ideas is a good one.
  3. The subjects have to arise organically in my life. We have a lot of information coming at us every day. I want to use the environment around me to influence and direct my studies, so it’s like my life is naturally leading my learning.
  4. Learn until I have a basic understanding and then leave it behind if I don’t find it that interesting. If I do, then yay, I have another new interest in my life. If I don’t, well, all information is good.

So that’s it. That’s my project at the moment. I don’t really know why I’m taking it on, it isn’t as if I don’t have enough to do at the moment. But I feel the need to do more, to stretch myself on a personal level to match the professional changes that I’m going through. Besides, I’m getting tired of re-reading books when I’m not working. It’s time to direct the intellectual wanderings I do in my spare time.



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